Sometimes when you are doing too much, you don’t do anything very well. But occasionally a gift is bestowed on you, kind of like a message from the universe, that reminds you why you do what you do, thereby encouraging you to give your heart and your best. Such a gift was given to me today.
As you know, I've been working with schools and kids in partnership with Amman Imman to foster awareness of the conditions in the Azawak and to empower kids to make a difference by raising money for boreholes. Honestly, although I do many things for Amman Imman, this is the most inspiring thing I do! I would like to share the experience I had at the community meeting at our school today.
Today the Oneness-Family School community meeting highlighted A Walk For Water and the Ammanathon Drive, special yearly events for Amman Imman in which the entire school gets involved. I showed a short slide show highlighting the different Walk for Waters that have been held locally, nationally and globally, and the Amman-athon that our students started last year, as well as photos of children from places we visited in the Azawak. The theme of the community meeting was, “We Care and We Can Help".
I asked the students, “Why are we doing this? Is it to win the incentive prizes, like a water bottle if you get 7 sponsors?”
No, we do this because WE CARE and WE CAN HELP.
We care about children like Hassi, who lives in Tangarwashane. We want her to continue learning French and other subjects in the village school, built after the Amman Imman borehole brought water, rather than have to spend her time searching for water.Hassi
We want Raichatou to get the health care she needs so that
eventually she will be able to walk again.
We want girls like Hadiza from Akoubounou to stay in school, to be able to get an education and so that she can be a strong contributor to her community.
We want to bring water to the children of Kijigari so their garden can continue to grow and provide nutritious vegetables so they can grow up strong and healthy.
Why? Because WE CARE, and WE CAN HELP.
For every spin of a hula hoop, basketball shot, and jumping jack jumped in the Ammanathon, the children of the Oneness-Family School are bringing the dreams and hopes of the people of the Azawak alive. For every mile that a student walks in A Walk For Water, for every $15 sponsorship, they are opening up a chance for a child to get an education. They walk, skip, hop and hula for children like baby Obama, born in Kijigari on the American election day, to drink clean water, so he can grow up healthy and strong and be a leader in his community…why? Because WE CARE and WE CAN HELP.
Baby Obama, born November 4, 2008
After the slide show, the 6-9 year old children demonstrated their skills that they are going to use in the Ammanathon next week. Altogether, we counted jumping jacks, hula spins, etc. and multiplying the final number by 5 cents, 10 cents. The demonstration provided a concrete example for our younger students, ages 3 -6, of how practice adds up to something. I heard a story from the parent of 7 year old Eliot, who previously could barely jump rope. Because he wanted to jump as many jumps as possible to raise as much money as possible, he now has the skills to jump 26 times without stopping. If Eliot jumps 26 times, 10 times over in the 5 minute time slot, and each jump is worth 5 cents, and he gets 10 sponsors, he has the potential of raising $130! The effect of that practice has gone beyond Eliot and the school yard and right into the rural and remote Azawak.
Should she be drinking muddy water?
The potential here is greater than raising money. We are raising kids. We are raising kids to understand that their effort impacts the world, that what they do, even if they can do only a little, goes a long way. If we instill that in them at 8 years old, think about what they will be able to do when they are 16, and what they will continue to do at age 32! But it doesn't end there...we are also giving a chance for children in the Azawak to reach their potential, and their dreams.
So, this is the best part of my Oneness-Family job and my Amman Imman job. And while I will be leaving my position at the Oneness Family School, my dream is to continue working on a national and global level, to help kids reach their potential as agents for change, to connect kids to their compassion and caring, and help them understand that they can make a difference. I intend to do this by giving them the opportunity to help Amman Imman bring water to the Azawak.
clean water from the Tangarwashane borehole
clean water from the Tangarwashane borehole
What a difference kids, both here and in the Azawak, can make for themselves. We not only want kids in America to have that opportunity, we also want kids in the Azawak to have the opportunity to make a difference in their community and their world.